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State’s updated Photonics Roadmap released

12 Dec. 2022

South Australia has cemented its position as a global leader of the rapidly growing photonics industry, with revenue from the state’s photonics businesses expected to grow considerably in the next five years.

The Lighting a New Path: Global Opportunities for the Photonics Industry in South Australia report – commissioned by the South Australian Government and published today – reflects on the six years of progress since the state’s inaugural photonics roadmap was developed in 2016.

Photonics is the science of light, with innovative applications across industries like defence and space, health and biotech, energy and mining, advanced manufacturing, and agriculture.

In particular, the report notes, South Australia has fostered an advantage by focusing on less competitive, higher return branches of photonics – demonstrating expertise in rapidly emerging fields such as quantum-related photonics research and development.

The 2016 report estimated South Australia’s photonics output at $200 million. In just six years, this figure has reached $614 million. Over the same time period, the local photonics workforce grew from 800 to approximately 1,500 jobs.

Co-Author Dr Alexis Mendez, President of MCH Engineering, explains photonics as an enabling technology – used in a multitude of diverse applications impacting many areas and industries.

“In the six years since our team prepared the previous photonics roadmap, the ecosystem for optics and photonics in South Australia has grown significantly,” Dr Mendez said.

“We’ve noted the development of new programs, facilities, and funds that have collectively improved the hi-tech infrastructure for SA entrepreneurs.

“This has led to the rapid growth of new commercial activity, particularly in the defence sector, while already established SA photonics-based businesses are beginning to re-engineer products and move into new markets.”